Way too often political campaigns are public relations spins that avoid real issues. Itâ€™s like the spam we keep getting on our computers â€” meaningless messages that detract from what we really want to see. Maybe Sen. John Kerry did throw away the medals he won in Vietnam, and maybe President Bush wasnâ€™t fully engaged in his duties as an Air National Guardsman during that war. That was long ago.
Maybe U.S. Senate candidate Erskine Bowles is trying to re-invent himself to â€œshake his past with President Bill Clintonâ€ as the Republicans say.
Pardon if we yawn.
There are real issues in North Carolina, and some hit home.
We brought up one during a recent visit by one of the gubernatorial candidates, Sen. Patrick Ballantine, related to the increasing cost of building new schools and how it unfairly falls on the property tax. Itâ€™s amazing how many politicians agree that local property taxes should not be the vehicle for paying for new schools, but nobody does anything about it. Ballantine did recognize this issue as a problem, and said the solution lies in having the state assume a role in this very expensive process. He said the stateâ€™s tax system needs a complete overhaul.
As voters prepare to go to polls to authorize a $47 million bond issue to build and renovate our county schools, county officials are wondering how local taxpayers can continue to pay those kinds of bills. Currently they are considering a real estate transfer fee that would place more of the tax burden on newcomers to the area who are more likely to have children in those schools. We have suggested impact fees to help offset the burden. In either case assistance will be needed from the state.
In Gaston County officials are wrestling with what the tab for local Medicaid costs, which reached a staggering $14.6 million in 2003. They want the General Assembly to eliminate the mandated 5.6 percent of Medicaid costs counties must match. North Carolina is one of only a few state that require counties to match Medicaid costs.
These are real issues that need solving.
Spare us the spin.by Albert Dozier